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US celebrates Constitution and Citizenship Day

On 23 September 2011, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas welcomed 50 new US citizens representing 29 countries at a naturalization ceremny in Washington, D.C. The ceremony took place during the Constitution Day and Citizenship Day celebtrations of 17 September 2011.

"We have a strong tradition as a welcoming nation, and our efforts ensure that the United States continues to draw people from across the world who contribute in important and innovative ways," Napolitano said.

"I am proud to...welcome the new citizens here today and the thousands who have been naturalized over the past several weeks to our country," she added.

The United States granted citizenship to more than 27,000 people during 285 naturalization ceremonies during the celebrations on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The celebrations took place at 14 national parks across the country.

"The vast majority of Americans can trace their ancestry to someone who immigrated to this country seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life," Salazar said.

"I am proud to welcome our newest Americans at the Department of the Interior – just steps from the National Mall, a place that celebrates our history, our Constitution and our commitment to the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all our citizens."

Each year, thousands of people are naturalized as US citizens. A vast majority originally immigrated to the US through family routes.